When inspiration strikes

It’s difficult to predict where inspiration will invade. And honestly, I’ve always believed it is less about the source and more about being receptive to the influence. This week I have found inspiration in two, rather traditional, places.

While browsing the new bookshelves at my neighborhood library, I picked up the book Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik. Beautiful, full color photos with clear directions for turning your house into a home. The projects are often inexpensive and easy yet look finished and chic. Truth be told, this book looks like my DIY board on Pinterest but there is always something better about having a book to reference (that is probably just my inner librarian trying to break out of this new mold I have stuffed her in). There are several projects I am itching to try!

But first…

I need to get organized! Last year we donated an incredible amount of clothing, furniture, and other household miscellany. It was liberating and at the time it felt massive. Six months later it feels like more could be done. Scratch that… MORE CAN BE DONE! As I begin the second year of trying out this stay-at-home-mom thing, I feel crushed by my home and all the stuff in it. It is also time to take a look at what my future might be and let go of the things I think need to be kept for that uncertainty? eventuality?

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While cruising Pinterest this morning I happened upon a blog with 31 days worth of posts to help get organized. It is probably the most practical organizing blog I have come across (and trust me I’ve read a bunch of ’em). The suggestions are not only practical but cost efficient and look great, not cheap which is exactly the direction I am hoping to head. A few of the posts helped me to rethink my hoarding tendencies and what I’m teaching lil’ A about the accumulation of stuff.

With this guide I feel confident I can begin to make our home more of a useful, comfortable place and then feel ready to tackle to room by room decorating that I’ve been dreaming about.

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2013 Dream Board

A few months ago, Nikki suggested I create a Dream Board to help get me back on track. At the time, I was feeling pretty blue and lacking motivation. This idea really appealed to me but I didn’t act on it. It was a difficult year and I just couldn’t see a way out of the sadness I was feeling. Early December I finally found my happy again. I felt hopeful and excited about a few new prospects. All of this has spilled over into this new year and I think this is the perfect time to create my Dream Board.

Here are a few goals for the up coming year:

Try a new recipe each week

Try a new recipe each week

Finish redecorating the guest room

Finish redecorating the guest room

Finish Project Basement and my studio space

Finish Project Basement and my studio space

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Start an Etsy store

Walk jog run 500 miles

Walk jog run 500 miles

Participate in the Cap City Half Marathon

Participate in the Cap City Half Marathon

Plan and host a Lalaloopsy themed birthday party

Plan and host a Lalaloopsy themed birthday party

Read 100 books

Read 100 books

And the BIG one…

Register for the Disney Half Marathon and save for a family vacation

Register for the 2014 Disney Half Marathon and save for a family vacation

Nothing else on earth will matter

“I want – I want somehow to get away with you into a world where words like that – categories like that – won’t exist. Where we shall be simply two human beings who love each other, who are the whole of life to each other; and nothing else on earth will matter.”

– Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

Oh, baby! {A Little Golden Books themed baby shower}

I am so very excited to be an aunt again. My whole family is just tickled ‘blue’ for the arrive of my brother’s little boy. To celebrate his upcoming birth, my mom and I threw an intimate shower for the mama-to-be, Jen.

Jen, the mama-to-be

Thanks to my time spent on Pinterest, I found inspiration for a Little Golden Books themed baby shower. As kids, I remember being at the grocery store with mom and being allowed to pick out a Little Golden Book as a reward for being good. Never candy. Always books (shocking I became a librarian, huh?). We split the work load for preparing for the event… Mom was tasked with planning the menu and I created the decor and dessert.

To decorate I scoured thrift stores and resale shops for gently loved books. I bought what I could find, which at first was not exciting. I was hoping to focus on classics such as, The Pokey Little Puppy and The Saggy Baggy Elephant. I gobbled up what I could find at super cheap prices and then I hit the jackpot at Half Priced Books.

I created the party invitation in MS Word using a google image of the inside cover of a Little Golden Book then adding a textbox for the message. I converted the file first into a PDF and then into a JPEG in order to print it using Walmart’s photo center. I despise Walmart but they have the best photo printing and the prices are very good. I create a 5×7 photo card on their site and have them printed in the number needed. 1-hour and they come with envelopes!

Using foam board and one book, I created 2 birdhouses for decor. These were a lot of work and all I had to go by was a photo found on Pinterest. I’m happy with how they turned out and they were a whimsical addition to the tables.

To accompany the birdhouse, I made felt bluebird ornaments as party favors for our guests. I simply love working with felt and always joke that “whatever you can do I can do better and in felt!” The bluebirds of happiness also worked as a simple decoration across the mantle. The birds were hung using mini clothes pins to ribbon announcing”It’s a boy!”

During all my purging and cleaning over the last few months, I found a torn copy of The Little Engine That Could. Using the pages from the damaged book, I cut them into triangles and attached them to ribbon using my sewing machine. Simple and adorable. These banners added just the right touch without making the party feel overdone. I also used the same illustrations to create mini-pennants to decorate the cupcakes.

  

Fabric with the Little Golden Books logo and images from classic stories served as a table runner and colorful mini-buckets from the Target dollar spot held the utensils.

For the menu, Mom choose to offer a salad bar which was an excellent choice. A variety of greens, fresh veggies, and shrimp provided a colorful and light lunch.

Food prep took very little time and was really stress free. Everyone loved this alternative to traditional party foods. Beverages also tend to be a huge ordeal at parties so we choose to offer one option…

This punch is made from a mixture of equal parts Blue Hawaiian Punch and lemonade. Lemon slice were added for a bit more color and because lemon slices just make everything a touch more classy. It was delish and our small group went through almost 2 pitchers! I plan to try this punch again but maybe adding rum!

In my opinion, cupcakes make everything easier. Every party should have cupcakes. No cake cutting. Less mess. No special plates needed. No wait for your guests. Cupcakes make the world go round. This time it was up to me to make them. If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I am a notoriously horrendous baker. It’s bad. Badder than bad. However, after watching the amazing Nikki make 60 cupcakes for Lil’ A’s big birthday bash, I felt brave.

Not only did my cupcakes look super cute… they were YUM YUM YUMMY! French vanilla for the win!

Lil’ A sends Baby Aiden a kiss through Jen’s belly.

It was a lovely day! Jen and Brent received some very special gifts for little Aiden to help him start his journey in this crazy world. Lil’ A couldn’t be more excited for Aiden to get here and neither can I (and neither can his mama)!